Trainee Testimonials

Trainee Testimonials

Laura Herrod

I started my Training Contract with Sills & Betteridge in September 2021 following completion of my undergraduate degree at the University of Lincoln in 2020, and thereafter the Legal Practice Course at Nottingham Law School in 2021.

My first six-month seat with Sills & Betteridge was in the Family Department. I worked in Care Proceedings, Private Children and Domestic Abuse. I had a varying workload including court attendance, drafting witness statements, preparing court documents and running a small case load in relation to domestic abuse cases. I worked in a very approachable and supportive team whereby my supervisor was always on hand to answer any questions.  

For my second seat I moved to the Commercial Property Department whereby I was able to assist on files in matters such as commercial leases, licenses and commercial transactions. I worked in a friendly team and was able to assist a number of fee earners on a wide variety of Commercial Property matters.

My final seat has been a twelve-month seat in the Claims Department. I work in the personal injury team whereby the majority of my work involves files where clients have sustained injury as a result of road traffic accidents, accidents at work and accidents in public places. I have been able to assist fee earners in the department on the full personal injury claim lifespan, from taking initial instructions to settlement. The team I work in have been extremely supportive and friendly, spending the time to help me develop and expand my knowledge. I now have my own case load and in September 2023, will be qualifying as Solicitor into the Claims Department.

The Training Principal is very approachable and will help guide you through your two years as a Trainee Solicitor. Trainees have regular meetings with the Training Principal and an “open door” policy means you always have a good line of communication. You are never made to feel that any questions are “silly” and from the first day you join the firm, you are welcomed as one of the team. I have thoroughly enjoyed my Training Contract experience and look forward to continuing my career with Sills & Betteridge as a qualified Solicitor.

Katy Webb

I started my Training Contract with Sills & Betteridge in May 2021, having graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in Law (LLB) and completed the Legal Practice Course and Masters in Law (LPC LLM) at Northumbria University.

On joining the firm, my first seat was in the Residential Conveyancing Department. I assisted my supervisors with a range of residential conveyancing matters, including freehold and leasehold sales and purchases, transfers of equity and re-mortgages. Despite this being a fairly short seat, I feel like a learnt a lot within the four months I spent in the department, and my knowledge of conveyancing matters helped me in my other seats.

My second seat was in the Family Department where I gained experience in a variety of matters including Care Proceedings, domestic abuse and private Children Act matters. I felt I was given a high level of responsibility with regards to client contact and preparing Court documents, which I enjoyed. Towards the end of my seat, I started to conduct my own advocacy.

I then spent ten months in the Wills, Trusts and Probate Department where I dealt with a range of matters including Wills, Trusts, Probate and Administration, Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection matters and tax planning. I assisted the Partners with work on their files and also ran my own caseload, under supervision. Being able to run my own files made me feel that my supervisors had confidence in me to take on my own clients, and it was great experience to prepare me for qualifying as a Solicitor and balancing a caseload.

For my fourth and final seat, I returned to the Family Department where I assisted my supervisors with work relating to Divorce, Financial Matters and private Children Act matters. I was delighted to then be offered a position to qualify as a Solicitor in the Family Department. As I had already returned to the department as a Trainee Solicitor, I felt it was a smooth transition into qualifying as a Solicitor and start taking on my own files.

I felt very supported by the firm throughout my Training Contract. All of my supervisors were very encouraging, and I could tell that they genuinely want to support and train me. Everyone at the firm is approachable and happy to help you when needed and I never felt like any question was ‘silly’. I can definitely say that I am proud to work for Sills & Betteridge.

The firm’s Training Principal is very approachable and arranges regular meetings with the Trainees to check in on how you are feeling during each seat, discuss your preferences for your next seat, and also look towards post-qualification.

Post-qualification, I am continuing to learn and receive invaluable support from my supervisors and develop the skills I gained as a Trainee Solicitor. I am looking forward to progressing further in my career as a Solicitor at Sills & Betteridge.

Grace Kirkwood

I graduated from The University of Lincoln in 2020 and subsequently completed the Legal Practice Course and Masters (LPC LLM) at the University of Law (Christleton) in 2021. During my third year as an undergraduate I was excited to be offered a Training Contract with Sills & Betteridge Solicitors which I commenced in September 2021. I joined Sills & Betteridge following completion of the LPC so had very little experience working in an office environment. I was made to feel very welcome on my first day.

I started my Training Contract with a seat in the Corporate & Commercial Department where I was able to gain experience in a range of areas including corporate law, intellectual property, commercial contracts and agreements. I was given a good level of responsibility and worked closely with the Partners in the Department.

My second seat was in the Family Department which was not an area of law in which I had any experience. I particularly enjoyed attending hearings with my supervisor gaining greater knowledge of advocacy. Following my brief seat in the Family Department, I moved to the Commercial Litigation Department which is where I spent the next 8 months. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in this Department, and I was made to feel part of the team from day one. During this seat, I assisted clients from their initial enquiry call right through to a settlement under supervision. The experience I gained in this Department in respect of client contact and workload management has been invaluable. The team work very closely together, and the open door policy that all the members of staff have creates a supportive work environment. In addition, during my time as a Trainee in the Department, I ran the firm’s fixed fee Debt Recovery files under supervision. 

Following my time in Commercial Litigation, I completed a short seat in the Wills Trusts & Probate Department where I gained experience dealing with wills and probate related matters. I was delighted to be offered a place in the Commercial Litigation Department post qualification and re-joined the Department three months early to build upon my experience in the area prior to qualifying as a Solicitor into the Department in September 2023. Having worked in the Commercial Litigation Department for 11 months, I have been exposed to a variety of matters including contentious probate work, contract disputes, property disputes and disputes between unmarried co-owners of properties to name a few.

The firm has been extremely accommodating regarding my seat preferences and continually offers opportunities to learn, whether that be through attending internal seminars or external conferences.

As a Trainee I think it is particularly important to know that you are supported and to feel that your supervisors are approachable. Sills has a great culture which means everyone is happy to help you when needed, your contributions are genuinely appreciated and you are valued as a member of the team. The firm has supported me throughout my Training Contract and continues to encourage me to reach my full potential.

I look forward to the next stage of my career as a newly qualified Solicitor in the Commercial Litigation Department and further development within the firm.

Esther McGillivray

I initially joined Sills & Betteridge in November 2018 after graduating from the University of Lincoln with a degree in Law (LLB). I worked for the firm full time as a Legal Secretary whilst I completed the Legal Practice Course and Masters in Law (LPC LLM) at Nottingham Law School. 

My Training Contract began in September 2020. My first seat was in the Family Department where I also remained for my second seat. During this time, I gained invaluable, hands-on experience from the Head of the Emergency Team and was involved in a broad range of matters.

I was also able to conduct my own advocacy in Court hearings which was certainly daunting at first! I then joined the Commercial Property Department which exposed me to a wide variety of work before my completing my final seat in the Commercial Litigation Department. Here, I was able to develop and strengthen my drafting skills whist working in a contentious area of law. 

As a Trainee Solicitor at Sills & Betteridge, you can expect to work directly with partners who are highly experienced in their fields and to be given a high level of responsibility from day one. In my experience, there were plenty of opportunities in all of my seats for me to deal with matters independently but with the knowledge that my supervisor/ the team was always on hand to offer support, advice and guidance at any time. 

Despite starting my Training Contract in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, I still felt supported throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed my training. I was able to work with both supervisors and colleagues who have a wealth of experience and expertise but are also approachable and supportive. As a Trainee, I found this an invaluable source of learning. 

The firm’s Training Principal, Simon Breeden, is very supportive and the regular review meetings are useful. The firm very much operates an “open door” policy which all members of staff adopt.

As a Trainee, you are also encouraged to make use of all training opportunities offered (even if they do not relate to your current seat), both internally and externally. This allows you to learn about developments in all areas of practice. 

Sills & Betteridge also host regular social activities and events and are dedicated to supporting local charities and community initiatives. 

I was delighted to be able to qualify into the Family Department specialising in Public Law Care Proceedings at our Boston office with my own team. I am continuing to develop and draw upon the skills I gained during my Training Contract and I am very much looking forward to progressing the next chapter of my career at Sills & Betteridge. 

Michael Tunnicliffe

I started my Training Contract with Sills & Betteridge in September 2018, having completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Liverpool and my Legal Practice Course with Masters in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Law in Manchester.

My Training Contract was my first office-based job, and so although I was keen and eager to start, I was also considerably nervous. Any concerns I had were quickly quashed with my colleagues being very understanding and affording plenty of patience and assistance where required.

Sills & Betteridge offer trainees a comprehensive experience in a variety of departments. They try to accommodate your preferences, and, subject to the needs of the business, aim to place you in your desired seats. I completed seats in the Family Department, Commercial Litigation Department, Claims Department and Residential Conveyancing Department.

As a trainee at Sills & Betteridge you can expect a meaningful level of responsibility. You are exposed to a wide variety of work in each department and given opportunity to run your own files with appropriate supervision. The culture of the firm allows for a very healthy work life balance, and the firm ensures that trainees are both supported and offered excellent training.

I was delighted to qualify as a solicitor in September 2020 into the Claims Department. I have found Sills & Betteridge to be a very enjoyable place to work, and I look forward to continuing to develop the skills I obtained whilst a trainee, as a newly qualified solicitor.

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